6 Tips For Buying A House Sight Unseen

Dated: September 17 2019

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Ideally, when looking for a home, you'd like several opportunities to visit and size up the place. But that's not always possible. In fact, a recent industry survey found that one in five home buyers made an offer on a house without physically visiting the property. 


If this is the route you need to go, Reator.com offers these suggestions to help you make the most informed decision.


  1. Ask for a video.
    Slideshows are great, but listing photos tend to show only the most flattering views of the house. Ask for a video walk-though of the property so you can see all the angles, including the outside of the house, insides of the closets, and even the water pressure in the bathrooms. Plus, this is a great way to get a feel of the layout and flow of the home.

  2. View the neighborhood.
    Use Google Earth and Street View to do a virtual tour of the neighborhood. You should get a feel for the area, and you can see if there's anything nearby that could detract form living there, such as railroad tracks, local airport, or highly trafficked road.

  3. Ask an inspector.
    On the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) website, you can search for an inspector based on the home's address. ASHI's executive director suggests asking a local inspector to look at the home's online profile, including photos and videos, to see if anything catches their trained eye. If you decide to make an offer, you can hire them for the full inspection.

  4. Hire a nose/ears.
    After you've hired an inspector, be sure to have them sniff the place out for you. A house may look great, but you can't smell pet odors or mildew through a picture. You can also ask your inspector if they could hear any traffic noises or other disturbances while inside or outside the home.

  5. Check comps.
    Checking the comparables is especially important if you can't view the neighborhood yourself. "If there's a problem with the neighborhood, the surrounding homes' selling prices speak volumes," says Realtor.com.

  6. Ask for a walk-through contingency. 
    Try to negotiate a walk-through contingency into the contract so you can actually walk through the property before signing the papers at closing. (Keep in mind that sellers don't have to agree to any contingency, or in exchange, they could ask for a higher purchase price.)

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Rachel Librach - CalDRE #02081922

I understand that buying a home can often times be one of the biggest financial decisions of a person's life. Not only can the whole process seem stressful, emotional, and time consuming, but if you a....

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